Hope is Not a Strategy

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
George Washington Carver

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent
and not enough time on what is important.”

Stephen Covey

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless,
but planning is indispensable.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower


From now on, I’m committing to helping organizations focus on “Intentional Management”.  I want to incite companies and organizations to manage their operations and lead their people with a plan in mind.   That’s right, incite, as in a riot.  I’d like to see companies and their people begin intentionally fostering change in their workplace; to stop waiting for someone else to make the changes and raise the bar in setting expectations, in customer service (that includes how they treat each other), management and leadership.  It’s time to make a commitment to stop talking about the need for change (bad bosses and toxic workplaces) and begin participating in making the changes needed.

I have found that I can only successfully support those organizations and individuals who have come to the realization that they need to change the way they do things and have committed to making the changes; those that have discovered on their own that haphazard management/leadership does not work effectively for long.  Organizations and leaders who hope things will get better may have good intentions but those that commit to a plan and choose to carry it out act intentionally and have a better chance of sustaining successful change and positive growth.

Why?  Because hope is not a strategy.  In fact, I’d submit to you that it’s really the reverse.  Committing to and carrying out a sound strategy, in other words having a plan, provides hope. 

I’ve seen companies work hard day by day while ignoring chronic issues that deserve their attention but remain unaddressed.  Supposedly “too busy”, these companies are sapped by money and effort-wasting problems that eat up their time and resources.  Consequently, they’re too busy bailing out the boat to fix the leaks.  They stay afloat and adrift, sometimes barely, sometimes not at all.

I’ve seen individuals function the same way, blindly moving through life without a plan, without goals, their journey aimless as they move toward an unseen, undefined end.  Admittedly, I have found I have been guilty of this at times.

What State Does Your Company Live In?

Organizations frequently look the other way when the time comes to examine how they function.  Many find it difficult to begin the process of change.  It requires choice, commitment and intentional action.  It requires self-examination of the type where companies may not like what they see and often the individuals learn that some of the problems they are encountering are being caused by the person whose face they see in the mirror.


Companies that struggle with setting priorities reside in the state of confusion.  They are not sure where to start their planning and often fall back on the phrase “We’re too busy” to justify their reluctance to choose the most important problem areas of their business to address.  Eventually their busyness has more to do with fighting fires than making progress and fostering growth.  Without eliminating the causes of those ongoing fires, they’re reduced to working only on what’s in front of them daily and are unable to look strategically to the future.  They hope one day they will look up from what occupies their time and things will be better.


Other organizations are faced with the reality that change is needed.  However, fear of change prevents them from making necessary changes.  They often use the phrase “We’ve always done it that way”.  They live in the state of denial.  They hope that if they ignore the need for change, things will improve on their own.  “It’s not my job” and “I’ll leave it for the next person” are other phrases often heard in these environments.


It’s a Choice


I promise you things will not change in the workplace (including your workplace) if we continue to talk and write about them and then hope the ideas will catch on when others begin to see the light.  Everyone needs a role model to exhibit appropriate behaviors.  We’re all leaders’ like it or not.  We all are visible to others as we go about our daily duties.  CEO, manager, supervisor, coworker, parent, spouse; we influence others by our actions.  However, we have to choose to change.  In making that choice, one must also be willing to sustain the effort.  We may need to choose to be the first.  Lead and others will follow.  I have a colleague that likes to say, “Lead, follow or get out of the way”.


Will you make the choice?  Will you choose to incite a quiet riot and beginning today, make your work place better?  Dare ya…


Here to serve,


John Duba


Next month:  Getting Around to Urgency

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